“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 1:11 NKJV).
When the children of Israel camped in the plains of Moab, Balak the king of Moab became exceedingly afraid and sick with dread because he had seen what they had done to the Amorites.
Balak therefore sent the elders of Moab with the diviner’s fee in their hands to a reputable diviner, Balaam, to hire him to come down and curse the children of Israel, so that he may defeat them in battle.
Balaam was a reputable diviner with a supernatural ability to either curse or bless. In those days, it was believed that whoever Balaam bless would be blessed and whoever he curse would be cursed (Num. 22:6).
Balaam’s first response to the king’s invitation was to seek God’s face to know His perfect will concerning the matter, whether to honour the King’s invitation or not.
God clearly revealed His perfect will to Balaam, saying, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” (Num. 22:12 NKJV).
Therefore, Balaam declined the king’s invitation and said to the King’s envoys, “Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you.” (Num. 22:13 NKJV).
Not only did Balaam decline the King’s invitation and gifts, he also boasted, saying, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.” (Num. 22:18 NKJV).
This statement undoubtedly shows that Balaam had firmly resolved to obey God and to do only God’s perfect will.
However, Balak the King of Moab would not accept Balaam’s refusal or resolution not to curse the people of Israel simply because God didn’t grant him the permission.
Therefore, Balak sent more honourable envoys with more gifts and promises of great rewards to Balaam than those he sent the first time (Num. 22:15-17). Sadly, this time around, Balaam’s heart was swayed by the king’s gifts and promises.
With a mind that had already been swayed and preoccupied with the king’s gifts and promises of great rewards, Balaam went back to seek God’s face, asking whether to honour the king’s invitation or not. This time around God gave Balaam the permission to go. Seeing that Balaam’s mind was already set on the wages of unrighteousness, God gave him up to his reprobate mind.
While Balaam was on his way to do the bidding of the king, God’s anger aroused against him and so the Angel of the LORD stood in the way as an adversary against him with His drawn sword in His hand to kill him.
Although Balaam had been spiritually blinded by his lust for the king’s gifts and rewards, his donkey saw the Angel and refused to move on in the journey, thereby saving Balaam’s life (Num. 22:20-41).
What is the error of Balaam we should avoid?
Having known and understood God’s perfect will, yet Balaam was still seeking God’s face to reveal His will!
Having heard and understood what God had to say on the issue, yet Balaam was still seeking God’s face to speak further on the same issue!
That is the error of Balaam!
God knew what Balaam wanted to hear, so God answered Balaam according to the lust of his heart. Balaam was only seeking God’s approval or endorsement on what he had prepared his mind to do.
The New Testament reveals that Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness.
2 Peter 2:
15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. (NKJV).
Although God did not permit Balaam to place a curse upon the children of Israel, yet after several futile attempts to invoke a curse upon them, Balaam counseled and taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel by inviting them to the sacrifices of their gods and luring their men to commit sexual immorality with the Moabites women (Num. 25:1-9, 31:16, Rev. 2:14).
Apparently, Balaam’s mind was set on receiving the wages of unrighteousness at all cost. Although he narrowly escaped the sword of the Angel of God, he eventually died by the sword of the children of Israel in battle.
22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them. (NKJV).
Unfortunately, many servants of God today are still running greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, “teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Titus 1:11 NKJV). They speak great swelling words of emptiness, “flattering people to gain advantage.” (Jude 1:16 NKJV).
Jude writes concerning them, “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 1:11 NKJV).
Many believers today, like Balaam, are erring in knowing and walking in God’s perfect will by seeking to persuade God to speak to them contrary to what He has already revealed or said clearly in the Bible.
Having read, known and understood God’s perfect will on certain issues plainly revealed or written in the Bible, it is very dangerous to still keep seeking and asking God for His will on the issues. Why?
Because God may simply answer you according to the lust of your heart, just as He did to Balaam!
God warned the children of Israel against this act.
1 Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.
2 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols,
5 “that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”‘ (NKJV).
It is wisdom for us to heed this warning today!
Having heard, known and understood that God didn’t want him to honour the king’s invitation, Balaam erred by pressing God to speak further. Therefore, God simply gave him up to his reprobate mind which had been swayed by the king’s gifts and promises of great rewards.
Beloved, having known and understood God’s perfect will on any issue, what is expected of you is to humbly accept, embrace and obey it. Choose to heed God’s clear instructions written in His Word (the Bible) and thus avoid falling into the error of Balaam.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for my foolish attempts in the past to persuade You to speak to me contrary to what You have clearly said or revealed in the Bible. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to begin to recognize, accept and obey God’s perfect will clearly written or stated in the Bible, in Jesus’ name. Amen.